law requires third-graders to be held back if they score below grade level on a high-stakes standardized reading test.
SB 12 has already passed the State Senate — it now heads to Gov. Whitmer for her signature, which is expected given her longstanding opposition to the retention portion of the reading law.
Repealing third grade reading retention has been a major legislative priority for MEA, since research has shown that holding students back does not generally improve their long-term reading proficiency and makes them less likely to graduate high school with a standard diploma. Moreover, holding students back based on the results of a single standardized test score can have a profound psychological impact on kids that can last a lifetime.
While SB 12 is a major step forward, there are further improvements to Michigan’s reading law that MEA will continue to advocate for, including:
- Providing educators with greater professional latitude for assessments, especially when it comes to requirements about testing kindergarteners in the fall when they’re first adjusting to being in a classroom every day.
- Increasing resources for schools to hire literacy coaches and reading specialists.
- Reducing class sizes to increase individual student attention.
- Delivering more resources and professional development to help educators meet student reading needs.
- Facilitating additional individual support and reading plans – both at school and at home – for students who need extra help.